Friday, December 4, 2009

Rising from the ashes

Tonight, I make my way to Phoenix for my Arizona poker trip. I leave tonight, Friday Dec. 4th and return Sunday, Dec. 13th. It will be a long trip, with 18 poker rooms on the agenda. There will be a lot of driving on this trip, including a few 3+ hour legs on single lane roads through mountains and deserts, but I'm leaving myself a fair amount of time to spend at each location. Contrast this with my Vegas trip from two years ago, where I darted around to nearly 40 rooms in a week, spending barely 45 minutes in each location. That was a tiring trip. This one should be a bit more rejuvenating.

I'll be doing a lot of contemplation in the stark and beautiful locales, I'm sure. I have a lot of things to work out in my mind and my life is rushing ahead at a frenetic pace at the moment. I'm making peace with my situation, as much as possible, and spending some quality time alone will be good for my head. On Thursday, I'm going to be joined in Phoenix (after I make a huge loop around the state) by Viv and Chris. I'm super-psyched to spend time with them, and anxious to see what the poker rooms in the greater Phoenix area are like. If there's anyone reading this who know what I should expect, please give me a shout.

In other news, Ali and her two girlfriends are going to Vegas for Spring Break! It's a girls-only trip and I most definitely wasn't invited. That's a shame, because seeing as I have free time, I was hoping to go to Vegas to finish up the 20+ rooms I still have to get to in that vicinity. But I was told not to be anywhere in the city during that week. So I've spent hours and hours looking over possible poker itineraries for that time period (Mar. 12th - Mar. 19th). After contemplating many choices that included Oregon, Northern Nevada, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico, I decided on California. The simple reason for that is that California, after Nevada, has the greatest concentration of legal cardrooms in the country. Washington State and Michigan, believe it or not, run a close second on the list but Michigan they're too cold for me for a March trip and their "cardrooms" are often nothing more than bars with a single table.

I'm running into a dilemma with my poker room quest in that I still haven't come up with a satisfactory definition of what a "card room" is. Casinos with poker rooms obviously qualify. California cardrooms qualify because they're main business purpose is gambling. Dog tracks and Jai-Alai Frontons and the like that have poker rooms qualify for the same reason. But what about those small bars in Montana, Washington and Michigan? Is it really a "poker room" if it's nothing more than a single table stuck in the back of a bar that happens to be legal. It's one thing if it's a real casino, with slot machines and table games, that happens to be dominated by a bar. That was the case for a card room in Laughlin that I went to once. But if the main purpose of the facility is drinking, not gambling, it seems more iffy.

I normally wouldn't care to distinguish these things, but after I run out of casinos, dog tracks and the like, do I really want to spend my precious time driving 1500 miles criss-crossing Montana to visit every dive bar in the state? For poker games that probably don't run until 6PM? If they get off at all? That would be the worst trip of my life.

{Sigh} Quests are hard.

Oh, so where was I? Oh yes, California. Yeah, after looking at the possible itineraries, I settled on hitting up the coastal region. I got a sick airfare too. $280 all in to fly into Los Angeles, drive up the coast, go east past Oakland, deep into Napa around Clear Lake and then swing back into San Francisco to fly home. This trip will be way more frantic than my Arizona trip. 34 poker rooms are on the agenda there, in 7 days! Fortunately, though there are many more rooms to see, they are spaced much closer together. I'll have one 3 hour driving leg and then my longest leg will be about 90 minutes. At this point, I can do 90 minutes standing on my head! BTW, if you haven't driven in California (outside of the cities), it really is a treat. Beautiful mountain vistas and rolling hill to the East, sweeping plains and flat deserts to the South and breathtaking Oceanic views to the West. Really something to behold.

One last thing, Ali is studying for law school finals this week (which is why I have time to travel) and her laptop has been acting badly. So as a backup, I'm leaving my own laptop with her so she can work uninterrupted. What this means, unfortunately, is I will probably not be able to post updates from the road, which blows chunks. I will try to take as many notes as possible by hand so I can reconstruct the postings when I return home.


Memphis MOJO said...

GL and have a good trip.

liezl said...

I'm so glad that you have this time for yourself. Good luck my friend. I look forward to reading your next entry.